The 6 Best Gravel Bikes Under $1000 (Ideal for Beginners) [2021]

The Best Gravel Bikes Under 1000

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These are the best gravel bikes under $1000. I selected them based on my 10-hour research that included evaluating owners’ experiences and reviews.

The best gravel bike overall is the State Bicycle 4130 ALL-ROAD grey (also available in black, brown, and tan). You can customize its wheel size to fit the terrain you want to ride in and opt for other accessories like the saddle, pedal type, lock, or water bottle cage (find out more).

In this article, you will also find out how to choose a gravel bike, what to expect in the below $1000 range, and much more.


What Are the Best Gravel Bikes Under $1000?

IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the shortage of bike components and high demand for bikes, many bikes are out of stock online. Unfortunately, it is necessary to wait even several months for some bikes.

State Bicycle 4130 ALL-ROAD (Best Gravel Bike Under $1000 Overall)

state bicycle co 4130 all road gray 1v
State Bicycle 4130 ALL-ROAD (grey) | Source: statebicycle.com
state bicycle co 4130 all road black canyon 6
State Bicycle 4130 ALL-ROAD (black) | Source: statebicycle.com
state bicycle co 4130 all road copper brown 2
State Bicycle 4130 ALL-ROAD (brown) | Source: statebicycle.com
State Bicycle 4130 ALL-ROAD (tan) | Source: statebicycle.com

Main Features

  • Customizable wheels (700c or 650b, or both) & accessories
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • Highly versatile
  • 4 bottle cage-ready spots
  • 5-Year Warranty
  • Excellent price-value ratio
  • Compatible with fenders, front and rear racks

Technical Specifications

  • Weight: n/a
  • Gearing: State Bicycle 1x11spd (11-42T cassette)
  • Tires: 700c (Vittoria Terreno Zero Tires 700x38c tubeless) or 650b (Vittoria Barzo Tires 2.1″)
  • Frame material: Steel

The main benefit of this bicycle is its customizability. Before you add it to a cart, you can choose whether you want 700c or 650b wheels (learn more about the wheel sizes), bike lock, pedal type, saddle type, and water bottle cage.

So, if you go for the 700c wheels, the bike will be ideal for longer rides that combine sections on the tarmac and light gravel. But don’t worry, they will handle dirt roads as well.

If you rather ride on trails, singletracks, or forest roads, the 650b wheels equipped with knobby tires will provide you with enough grip that you will need. And, as a side effect of wider tires, the riding comfort will also increase.

State Bicycle also allows you to buy 2 sets of wheels at once (700c and 650b). So, you can switch them based on the terrain you plan to ride.

The bike is easy to assemble so you don’t have to worry if you are not a world-class mechanic.

Another good news for beginners is that the bike uses mechanical disc brakes that are easier to maintain compared to hydraulic disc brakes (what is the difference?).

This is also the only bike in this selection that has a frame made of steel (learn more about frame materials). Steel frames tend to be very durable and stiff. Unfortunately, they are heavier compared to aluminum or carbon frames.

Although the gear range is limited (1x11spd), you should not experience a moment when you don’t have enough gears. Thanks to an 11-42T cassette you can ride flats, hilly routes, and even steep climbs.

Another thing I cannot forget is the accessories compatibility that allows you to attach racks, fenders, and up to 4 water bottles. Thanks to the additional cargo you can attach to the bike, your trips can be really looong.

Overall, this is the best gravel bike under $1000 suitable for beginners and advanced riders that want to enjoy their long trips and bikepacking journeys.


Marin Nicasio

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Marin Nicasio | Source: jensonusa.com

Main Features

  • 700c wheels (up to 35mm tires) or 650b wheels (up to 47mm tires)
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • 3 bottle cage-ready spots
  • Platform pedals included
  • Compatible with fenders, front and rear racks

Technical Specifications

  • Weight: n/a
  • Gearing: Shimano Claris 2x8spd (11-32T cassette)
  • Tires: Vee Tire, Apache Chief, 700x30c, Wire Bead
  • Frame material: Steel

Fans of steel bikes, be aware! The Marin Nicasio is a nice and simple steel gravel bike with decent components.

It comes with Shimano Claris 2×8spd shifting (11-32T cassette) and 700x30c tires. This combination is ideal for paved roads and light gravel.

Nicasio is ideal for fast rides on the harsh tarmac, dirt and forest roads, or singletracks. Due to the limited tire clearance of 35mm (700c), it is not suitable for difficult terrain in this configuration. You will need to use 650b wheel size with wider tires for more adrenaline adventures.

During longer trips, you will appreciate the extra bottle cage mount so you won’t run out of water so quickly, and mounts of fenders and racks.

The fenders will keep you dry in wet conditions and the racks allow extend your storage capacity for trip essentials.

Overall, Nicasio is a well-built steel gravel bike from an established bicycle manufacturer.


Poseidon X

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Poseidon X | Source: poseidonbike.com

Main Features

  • 700c wheels (up to 40 mm tires)
  • The bike is also compatible with 650b wheels and up to 1.9″ wide tires
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • Lifetime frame warranty
  • 3 bottle cage-ready spots (4 on sizes M, L, and XL)
  • Platform pedals included
  • Compatible with fenders, front and rear racks

Technical Specifications

  • Weight: 24 lb (10.89 kg) [size M]
  • Gearing: Microshift Advent X 1x10spd (11-48T cassette)
  • Tires: Kenda Small Block 700×35
  • Frame material: Aluminum

Poseidon X is another popular choice of gravel bike under $1000. It is a modern-looking gravel bike ideal for beginners.

It offers 1x10spd shifting. This means that you don’t have to worry about the front derailleur that sometimes confuses beginners, and you can fully focus on shifting gears up or down.

The only disadvantage of the 1X shifting is that you won’t have as many gears and the jumps between them are larger compared to 2X shifting (learn more). So, the selected gear may not fit your preferred cadence.

However, the 11-48T cassette ensures you will be able to ride fast on flats, but also to a steep hill.

You can use Poseidon X with either 700c wheels that are included or switch them for 650b to enjoy rougher terrain.

The tire clearance allows you to use up to 1.9″ wide tires. These are perfect if you want to ride singletracks, on bumpy or forest roads, and on other unpaved surfaces.

Another benefit is that you can equip the bike with up to 4 bottle cages (depending on the size of the bike). So, if you plan to go on a long trip, you don’t have to worry about the lack of water.

Poseidon X is compatible with various accessories like fenders, or racks, so if you think about some bike packing or bike touring, this is a perfect bike for you.

Check this selection of the best shoes for a gravel bike to maximize your riding comfort. Use them with these gravel bike pedals to improve your riding experience.


Pure Cycles Gravel Adventure Bike

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Pure Cycles Gravel Adventure Bike | Source: rei.com

Main Features

  • 700c wheels
  • The bike is also compatible with 650b wheels
  • Lifetime frame warranty
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • Platform pedals included
  • Excellent price-value ratio
  • 4 bottle cage-ready spots
  • Compatible with racks, fenders, and other accessories

Technical Specifications

  • Weight: n/a
  • Gearing: Shimano Claris 2x8spd (11-34T cassette)
  • Tires: Hutchinson Overide 700x38c
  • Frame material: Aluminum

This Gravel Adventure Bike by Pure Cycles belongs is so popular that it is often out of stock. And there are several reasons for that. It narrowly lost a close “duel” with the State Bicycle 4130 ALL-ROAD.

The Gravel Adventure Bike is in many ways similar to a State Bicycle bike. The difference is mainly that this bike comes with 700c wheels and 38c tires, and that it does not allow you to customize the wheels & accessories.

But, thanks to the 700c wheels with narrow tires, you get a versatile “road bike”, that can handle a quick ride on asphalt as well as terrain. So you don’t have to limit yourself to paved roads when planning your trip.

It is perfect for everyone who wants to maintain their fitness and ride on long trips. However, if you decide to ride more difficult terrain, you can replace the 700c wheels with 650b wheels with wider tires and set off.

The packing includes alloy platform pedals which is a plus because you save a few bucks (if you don’t have any pedals yet).

You can attach up to 4 water bottles to the bike at the same time (2 on frame and 2 on the fork). This water supply will keep you hydrated even in remote places where it is difficult to replenish drinking water.

Overall, the Gravel Adventure Bike is the ideal bike for your next adventure.

Also available at purecycles.com


You may also be interested in the Best Non Cycling Shoes for Cycling.


Octane One Gridd 2

Octane One Gridd 2 Gravel Bike 2020 ArmyGreen 01
Octane One Gridd 2 | Source: wiggle.com

Main Features

  • Tubeless-ready wheels
  • Carbon fork
  • Compatible with a rear rack and fenders
  • High built quality

Technical Specifications

  • Weight: 24.03 lb (10.9 kg) [M]
  • Gearing: SRAM GX 1x10spd (11-40T cassette)
  • Tires: WTB Riddler 700x38c
  • Frame material: Aluminum

If you are willing to spend a little bit more than $1000, you should think about Octane One Gridd 2.

Owners praise its riding features. It is very comfortable because it can absorb minor bumps and vibrations pretty well (thanks to the carbon fork).

The build quality is superb. I like the red paint job more than the green one, but both look perfect in person. It will definitely turn some heads!

You can use up to 40c tires so if you like having fun in terrain, you won’t be limited by narrow tires.

I also like the attention to detail – especially the yellow front wheel hub and spacers and the red valve caps.

The main downside I see in the drivetrain. The jumps between gears are larger, so it may take some time to get used to it. The 11-40T Sunrace cassette doesn’t work very well, so it is better to replace it with an SRAM cassette (11-36T), for example.

Some owners also recommend replacing the crankset for better ones for extra performance.


Trek FX 3 Disc (Gravel Bike Alternative)

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Trek FX 3 Disc | Source: trekbikes.com

Main Features

  • The frame is available in a version for both men and women
  • Integrated speed sensor
  • Lifetime frame warranty
  • Ergonomic grips
  • Flat pedals included
  • Carbon fork
  • Compatible with racks, fenders, a kickstand, and other accessories

Technical Specifications

  • Weight: 25.88 lb (11.74 kg) [M]
  • Gearing: Shimano Acera 2x9spd (11-36T cassette)
  • Tires: Bontrager H2 Hard-Case Lite 700x32c
  • Frame material: Aluminum

As you can see from the picture, this is not a gravel bike. But, you can use it as a gravel bike. Let me explain how.

The geometry of the Trek FX 3 Disc is very similar to the geometry of gravel and road bikes. This bike is also equipped with 700c wheels with 32c tires.

This means you can use it in light terrain like gravel, dirt roads, etc. But, the tire clearance will allow you to use even wider tires that handle rougher terrain and bumpy roads.

And, if you replace the flat handlebar for dropped handlebar, boom, you have a ‘gravel bike’.

Trek FX 3 Disc offers 2×9 (11-36T) gears. This variety of gears is good for flats and for hilly routes. So you won’t have to be afraid that you won’t be able to go up a steeper hill because of hard gear.

The handlebars are straight and not dropped. So, your riding position will be more upright and not as aggressive and aerodynamic. But, if you don’t race with your friends and you rather enjoy the ride, this won’t be an issue because the more upright position is also more comfortable.

The fork is made of carbon which helps with absorbing vibrations and making the ride even more comfortable.

You can also take advantage of an inbuilt speed sensor that you can connect with your smartphone or head unit to track your ride progress.

To wrap this up, Trek FX 3 Disc is a perfect alternative to a gravel bike that handles paved roads, as well as light terrain.


You may also be interested in the Best Gravel Bikes Under $1500 and Best Hybrid Bikes Under $1000.


My Verdict

It was not easy to find and pick the best gravel bikes under $1000. However, the overall is the State Bicycle 4130 ALL-ROAD (also available in black, brown, and tan). Let me explain why.

It has a frame made of steel which is stiff and durable so you don’t have to be afraid that it will crack after a crash.

This bike is perfect for long trips in various types of terrains depending on the size of wheels and tires you opt-in (700c or 650b).

You can also attach up to 4 water bottle cages to the bike. Thanks to this water supply you can ride even to remote areas that have difficult access to drinking water.

Of course, you can attach additional accessories to this bike like fenders, racks, etc. for additional cargo that will support you on your trip.

Overall, the 4130 All-Road is a well-equipped bike for a fair price. Is this going to be your next gravel bike?


How to Choose a Gravel Bike?

Gravel bikes (also sometimes called Adventure bikes) are available in various options. If you are a beginner, it can be overwhelming to orient yourself in them.

The following part explains what you should be aware of when buying a gravel bike for under $1000 and what you can expect in this price range.

Frame Material

Frames of gravel bikes are mostly made from one of the 3 following materials:

  1. Aluminum gravel bikes tend to be the cheapest. They are not as stiff as steel or carbon gravel bikes, but they are relatively light and affordable. They are perfect for beginners or for people with a tight budget.
  2. Steel gravel bikes are the heaviest. On the other hand, they are stiff and very durable so they handle crashes well. There is a group of people that loves steel frames thanks to their look and uniqueness. You can also repair steel frames relatively easily if you can weld.
  3. Carbon gravel bikes are the lightest and very stiff but also the most expensive. They are suitable for performance-oriented riders and for people that have more money to spend.
Frame MaterialWeight of the Bike
Carbon7.5 to 10 kg
Aluminum9.5 to 12 kg
Steel11 to 13.5 kg
The estimated weight of the gravel bike depending on the frame material

The estimated weight is based on the market research I did and the comparison of weights of gravel bikes. The bike weight also depends on the components used on the bike. Carbon bikes usually have better and lighter components so the overall weight is also lower.

Gravel bikes under $1000 are mostly made of aluminum. You may be able to find some steel gravel bikes as well at this price range, but don’t expect carbon frames. Carbon gravel bikes start at around $2000.

Groupset

Gravel bikes use either 1X or 2X. There are models with 3X shifting as well.

1X shifting (1 chainring) offers fewer gears. This means that the differences between the individual gears are larger compared to 2X shifting.

Thanks to its simplicity, 1X shifting is ideal for beginners because they can focus on one rear shifting only.

The weight of 1X shifting is lower compared to 2X shifting thanks to fewer parts. You can take advantage of the lower overall bike weight during long climbs to save some energy.

2X shifting (2 chainrings) offers a wider gear range. You can choose a gear that suits you the best based on the terrain and your preferred cadence.

The downside of the 2X shifting is that it is more prone to failure or other damage due to a large number of parts and things that can go wrong. The same also applies to 3X shifting.

1x chainring
1x chainring
2x chainring
2x chainring
3x chainring
3x chainring

The groupsets are usually supplied by companies like Shimano or SRAM, but you may also find other, less known manufacturers like MicroShift, or custom groupsets by the bike manufacturers themselves.

In the below $1000 price range, expect groupsets like Shimano Sora, Shimano Claris, Shimano Tiagra, SRAM Apex, MicroShift Advent X, etc.

Wheels

Gravel bikes use 700c or 650b wheels.

700c wheels are bigger and use narrower tires compared to 650b wheels. This makes them better for light terrain and paved surfaces like tarmac. According to La Velocita, 700c wheels combine the best weight, grip, and rolling resistance ratio.

700c wheels are better for longer rides because they allow you to cover large distances without the need to spend as much energy as with 650b wheels and wider, knobby tires.

650b wheels are smaller but use wider tires. They are perfect for rougher terrain like bumpy roads, mud, forest roads, single tracks, etc. Thanks to their grip you will be able to ride through these terrains with ease.

This wheel size also tends to be more comfortable thanks to wider tires that are better at absorbing bumps and other vibrations.

700c vs 650b wheel size
700c vs 650b wheel size

So, choose the wheel size based on the type of terrain you would like to ride in. Gravel bikes under $1000 are available with both wheel sizes.

Brakes

Gravel bikes are almost exclusively equipped with disc brakes. There are 2 types of disc brakes:

  1. Mechanical disc brakes work similarly to rim brakes – a steel cable moves the pistons which creates friction that slows the bike. The advantage is that they are compatible with standard rim shifters and are easier to maintain at home. The disadvantage is that the steel cable can wear out more easily and break.
  2. Hydraulic disc brakes use fluid filled in the system. As CyclingAbout explains, when you pull the brake lever, the fluid rushes down to the caliper, closing the brake pads. This type of brakes provides braking consistency in any riding conditions. However, due to their complexity, they are more difficult to maintain at home if you don’t have enough experience and tools.

The mechanical disc brakes are used on most lower-end gravel bikes. The hydraulic disc brakes are more complex and thus more expensive. So, you won’t find them on gravel bikes under $1000.

Accessories Compatibility

Another thing you should consider is the compatibility of the bike with other bike accessories.

If you plan to ride long distances, you will need to attach them to your bike to store clothes, food, tools, bike lock, or other things.

Gravel bikes usually allow you to attach more than 2 bottle cages, bike racks, handlebar bags, frame bags, saddle bags, etc.

To find out more about the things to pack with you on a trip, check the following video.

Bike Size

Once you decide what gravel bike you want to buy, you have to choose its correct size. And, this can be tricky.

That’s why online retailers often publish bike size charts so you can pick the bike size based on your height, inseam length, and other body dimensions. Luckily, tools like Bikeinsights will help you with comparing bike geometries.

Feel free to read my other article where I explain How to Choose a Bike Size. It also contains a bike size calculator that will calculate the correct gravel bike size for you.


Keen to learn even more about gravel bikes? Read this How to Choose a Gravel Bike Guide.


Gravel Bikes FAQ


This post is regularly updated to provide you with the most up-to-date tips on products. If you find a product that is not up to date, please, contact me.

2 thoughts on “The 6 Best Gravel Bikes Under $1000 (Ideal for Beginners) [2021]”

  1. Hello…
    I’m interested in a gravel bike (under $1,000) 80 % of my riding is on fine gravel trails in and around Philadelphia Pa. But I do enjoy riding out on country roads for a 20-25 mile trek. I would like your take on the type of bike, wheel and tire sizes.

    Jim Thomasi

    1. Hi Jim,
      Based on your description, I would go for a gravel bike with 700c wheels and a tire width between 32 – 38mm.
      Depending on your riding style, you can buy a bike with more relaxed geometry for better comfort (e.g. Marin Nicasio) or more aggressive geometry for a more aerodynamic position (e.g. Octane One Gridd 2) – ideal for racing.
      I also recommend you to read my How to choose a gravel bike guide that includes this info about wheel size and tire choice.

      The only main issue these days is that most gravel bikes are out of stock.

      Let me know if you have any questions. 🙂

      – Petr

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